23 Apr 2010

NZ foreign minister says good Fiji news is scarce

1:30 pm on 23 April 2010

The New Zealand Foreign Minister, Murray McCully, says there hasn't been a lot of good news out of Fiji since its suspension from the Pacific Islands Forum a year ago.

But he says the move hadn't been expected to prompt changes by the interim regime.

Fiji was suspended on May 1st last year after the interim government backed away from an earlier commitment to return to democracy later in 2009.

Mr McCully says rather than trying to elicit change, the Forum leaders' unprecedented step was more about punishing Fiji for failing to comply with the organisation's democratic ideals.

"So I think in sadness rather in anger. There was a requirement for the Forum to take action last year. I don't think there has been a lot of good news in the meantime, but it does protect the set of principles and values on which the Forum is based."

Mr McCully says he is maintaining dialogue with members of the regime and hopes new talks can be scheduled with the interim leader, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, after arrangements to meet at the Hong Kong sevens last month were affected by Cyclone Tomas.